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Hundreds attend Safety Saturday event
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Children learn how to call 911 for help at the Riggs Ambulance Service booth at the 3rd annual Community Safety Saturday event held at Hilmar Cheese Company on Saturday. - photo by NANCY ANGEL / The Journal

Hilmar resident Jamie Carmona was one of the hundreds of parents who left the 3rd annual Safety Saturday event feeling a little more secure about the safety of her children.

“This event is very important because it gives parents the essential tools in safety and child protection,” said Carmona. “I learned how to properly install seat belts for my two younger children. I definitely plan on attending next year.”

Over 800 people attended the safety fair sponsored by Capital Insurance Group and hosted by Turlock's GDI Insurance Agency at Hilmar Cheese Company.

“CSS is a safety awareness event that everyone can learn from,” said GDI Insurance Agency President Grant W. Davis. “In addition to all the important activities and information we have for our younger kids, we are also reaching out to teens and their parents.”

The family-friendly event featured safety tips and seat belt installation operated by the California Highway Patrol. Expert technicians checked for proper installation and gave parents critical information about installing car seats correctly.

The KlaasKids Foundation Print-A-Thon provided free child identification tools including digital fingerprinting, photo IDs, and take-home DNA kits.

“The best way to avoid victimization is through education and knowledge,” said Marc Klaas of the KlaasKids Foundation. “Over the past 20 years we have done a good job of protecting children on our streets and we need to continue to bring awareness to the community.”

The event also drew Hilmar's most famous native, "Glee" star Dot-Marie Jones. Jones signed autographs and talked to the community about her experiences of being bullied when she was growing up.

“I’m excited to be back in my hometown and participate in Community Safety Saturday,” she said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to be a part of an event that raises awareness and saves lives. When I was growing up, I was bullied and called all sorts of names because of my stature. I was happy to be able to share my story and inspire others to do the same.”